Herd coaches hit the road
HUNTINGTON — The halls of the Shewey Building at Marshall University have been a bit silent during the early portion of this week.
That’s because Marshall has had its full complement of football coaches allowed by NCAA rules hitting the recruiting trails over the past few days.
“They’ve got to go,” Marshall head coach Doc Holliday said Tuesday. “Every day is like a two-minute drill in recruiting. They better get there early and leave late. And they do that. I’ve got good coaches. I don’t worry about what they do when they get on a plane because they’re working hard.”
Marshall (2-2) has a bye week on its schedule and doesn’t play again until the Oct. 5 Homecoming contest against UTSA.
Bye weeks might seem like a bit of a down-time for most programs, but it is anything but for the Thundering Herd coaching staff.
While it’s a bit of a different schedule, the work-week started for the staff as soon as they stepped foot back in Huntington following Saturday’s 29-21 triple-overtime loss at Virginia Tech.
“They traveled on Sunday, which gave them two full days. …” Holliday said about his coaching staff. “They don’t have to get back until tonight (Tuesday) or some of them fly in early (Wednesday) morning, so they have two full days to get into every school and teams are practicing right now, too, so that helps you see a couple of practices.”
It might only be two days for the Herd coaches on the road, but it’s a critical juncture in which they get to evaluate players and set potential targets.
Especially with much of the Herd’s Class of 2014 already being filled with commitments or players who are already on campus that are sitting out this year because of academic issues, those evaluations are priceless in an attempt to get players who fit the program in terms of athletic skills, academics and character.
“From what we have committed, we don’t need to be in a hurry,” Holliday said. “There will be a lot of good players that will fall in January and we have to be sure we’re there with a couple of scholarships.”
Holliday was quick to point out the team’s chief recruiting target, which is along the offensive front. At the end of this season, the Herd loses three tackles with starting experience in Gage Niemeyer, Garrett Scott and Jordan Jeffries.
“We need a couple of offensive tackles,” Holliday said. “That’s one area that (offensive line coach) Alex (Mirabal) is out working extremely hard on.”
The Herd’s seven coaches who are out on the road are scouring the recruiting hot-spots in which the staff has built pipelines.
The most notable areas are Florida and Georgia, but they also include areas such as Virginia, Ohio, the Carolinas and Mississippi as well.
Holliday also noted how the change in landscape of Conference USA’s members means his staff will have to work twice as hard.
Additions such as Florida International and Florida Atlantic in Florida, Louisiana Tech in the southern Gulf Coast, Charlotte in the Carolinas and Old Dominion in Virginia will challenge the Herd to continue its strong presence in those areas who now have Conference USA ties.
“I know it’s all about relationships, honesty and out-working people,” Holliday said. “That’s what it is all about. I’ve surrounded myself with people on this staff that do that.
“That’s the only chance we have because we have to go out-work people to make sure we get the quality of player we get here to go win a championship.”
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